a-ha and Hydro together in Brazil

What do a-ha and Hydro have in common? They renew themselves. In addition, on October 1 and 3 the iconic band will take the stage in Brazil and play for Hydro's many thousand local employees.

September 2, 2015
Aha members leaning against the wall
Photo: Bård Gudim/Hydro

2015 is a special year for Hydro - and a special year for a-ha. While Hydro is celebrating 100 years as an aluminium company, and has operations in Brazil that are 20 and 30 years old this year, a-ha is marking the 30th anniversary of their international breakthrough as a band.

Hydro is celebrating 100 years as an aluminium company by setting the tone for a new hundred years. Celebrating the past is important, and so is renewal, to create an even better, bigger and greener future.

It is about more than music

Re-new, re-forestation and re-cycling are the common themes behind the collaboration that led to the two a-ha concerts for Hydro's employees in Brazil. Morten Harket has been engaged in rainforest preservation for a long time, and is particularly committed to protecting biodiversity.

"Diversity is the key to success on the earth in general, and the rainforest represents diversity more than anything else on land. We cannot afford to ignore the importance of this, it is a fundamental factor for future life," says Harket.

Hydro also has a strong focus on reforestation, and rehabilitates 300 hectares of new forest every year. Operating a mine near the Amazon region brings with it a special responsibility. Even though the area where Hydro operates the mine was deforested 50 years ago and used for grazing, Hydro has committed itself to return all of the mining areas to forests of high quality.

"The quality of the forest is just as important as the quantity, because our ambition is to return the forest to its original condition and preserve the biodiversity of flora and fauna," says Bjørn Kjetil Mauritzen, climate director in Hydro.

Recycling through art

Recycling is another of Hydro's focus areas. Magne Furuholmen, who has renewed himself from well-known pop music artist to well-known visual artist in Europe, has an art project in the Brazilian cities of Rio de Janeiro and Barcarena, where he encourages children to make art with recycled aluminium.

"For my part, I like the fact that art is not permanent, but part of a recyclable way of thinking. This is also partly the idea behind the art project in Rio and Barcarena. We give kids an alphabet of recycled aluminium, which they can turn into sculptures as they wish, and create their own words and sentences."

Magne Furuholmen has previously created an artwork for Hydro in connection with Al Gore receiving the Nobel Peace Prize in Oslo in 2007. The sculpture is made from recycled aluminium and can also be recycled further after it has been exhibited.

Still popular and relevant after 30 years

Even 30 years after a-ha had its breakthrough, their music is still highly relevant for several generations.
Paul Waaktaar-Savoy, Morten and Magne reveal how a-ha works with music to create new songs that people want to hear.

"When you have been at something as long as we have, you need to be careful to start fresh from time to time," says Waaktaar-Savoy.

"Before the last album I moved from Soho in Manhattan to Brooklyn, replaced a pile of old keyboards and instruments with a model that has no pre-recorded sounds and can only play one note at a time. The idea behind this is to make everything from scratch, the furthest away possible from how music is made today - where everything is available at all times and everyone is using the same programs.

Harket and Furuholmen add:
"Song writing changes over time, like everything else, but you still try to find the same key elements; melodies that move of their own free will - and texts that mean a lot to you," says Harket.

"You very often get new ideas by revisiting old material - semi-finished and unfinished songs - that can be renewed by using them in different settings. New ideas often grow out of the old ones we carry with us," concludes Furuholmen.


Updated: October 11, 2016